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INSTITUTIONAL ANIMAL CARE AND USE COMMITTEE

RODENT SURGERY GUIDELINES (updated June 2010)

Scope:

These guidelines apply to all surgical procedures performed on rodents.

  • Section 1 - Survival Surgery in Rodents
  • Section 2 - Non-Survival (Terminal) Surgery in Rodents

Section 1 - SURVIVAL SURGERY

Any surgery conducted on animals that are expected to recover from anesthesia is considered survival surgery.

General:
Survival surgery on rodents should be performed using sterile instruments and sutures, clean or sterile surgical gloves, and aseptic procedures to reduce microbial contamination of exposed tissues to the lowest practical level.

PROCEDURES

Pre-Operative:

1.

Surgery should be conducted in an uncluttered, disinfected area, which promotes asepsis during surgery - sanitize counter/lab bench with e.g. alcohol, bleach solution, chlorhexidine, or Clidox. Use clean underpads, towels. Replace these materials after each surgery session

2.

All Instruments and implants should be sterilized (steam autoclave, glass bead sterilizer or gas-sterilization) – if autoclaved, label package with date of sterilization. Fragile implants may be gas-sterilized or soaked for 10 hours in a 2% glutaraldehyde solution or other chemical sterilant (not disinfectant) - rinse solution off with sterile water before implanting.

3.

As soon as animal is anesthetized, remove fur from the surgical site. Perform this procedure in an area separate from where the surgery is to be conducted.

4

Analgesic commitments are in Section I of the protocol; pre-operative administration of analgesics may be administered during surgical prep if part of the protocol. Refer to LARC recommended doses.

5.

Put ophthalmic ointment in the rodent’s eyes, to prevent the corneas from drying out.

6.

Disinfect incision site with a disinfectant such as dilute chlorhexidine or Betadine solution. Alcohol use by itself is not an appropriate skin disinfectant, and may contribute to hypothermia in rodents.

7.

Surgeons should don a clean lab coat or scrub shirt and then wash and dry their hands before aseptically donning sterile surgical gloves or clean gloves.
Note on gloves: Sterile gloves are only required if you are touching the surgical site  or the tip of sterile instruments with your gloved hands, otherwise, you may wear new, clean, non-sterile gloves . Don a new pair of gloves after you have prepared the surgery area and patient, before you start your surgery. If you need to touch animal tissue with your hands, or there is any possibility of this, you MUST wear sterile gloves

Operative:

1.

Keep animal warm using a heated surface.

2.

The animal must be maintained in a surgical plane of anesthesia throughout the procedure. Refer to anesthesia guidelines

3.

Monitor and/or maintain the animal's vital signs, including respiratory pattern, skin or mucous membrane color and lack of responsiveness.

4.

Begin surgery with sterile instruments and handle them aseptically to minimize contamination. You may use a bead sterilizer if contamination occurs during the procedure or between individual animals.

5.

Instruments and gloves may be used for a series of similar surgeries provided they are sterilized between animals. After the first surgery, clean the instruments and insert each instrument into a hot bead sterilizer for at least 15 seconds. If gloves are soiled, change them; if not, spray with disinfectant such as chlorhexidine or bleach solution. Follow all above procedures on the next animal.  When using autoclaved instruments it is recommended that a new set of sterile instruments be used after every five animals (or for every cage). If known contamination has taken place, the instrument should not be reused before re-sterilization. Autoclaved instruments may be bead sterilized or alternatively wiped with alcohol between animals as long as they are kept on a sterile field when not being used.

6.

Close surgical wounds using appropriate techniques and materials. If surgery has entered thorax or abdomen, a two-layer closure is required

Post-Operative:

1..

Recover the animal according to the anesthesia guidelines.

2.

Administer analgesics per the IACUC-approved protocol. LARC recommended doses.

3.

Remove skin closures 10 to 14 days post-operatively (exceptions must be described in the IACUC-approved protocol). Exception: female mice that undergo surgery for embryo transplantation may have their wound clips left in until their pups have been weaned.

4.

Follow your approved protocol for documentation. It is recommended that anesthesia, surgery, post-surgical analgesics and monitoring is documented.

5.

Clean and dry all surgical instruments and re-assemble them to be sterilized again. Dispose of all soiled drapes, pads, towels, etc. Place all sharps in sharps disposal container.

Section 2 - NON-SURVIVAL (TERMINAL) SURGERY

Any surgery conducted on animals that are not allowed to regain consciousness is considered non-survival surgery. This includes terminal vascular perfusion.

  • No expired drugs or fluids are allowed. Pharmaceutical-grade agents (USP) must be used unless exemption is approved by IACUC
  • Non-survival surgeries require neither aseptic technique nor dedicated facilities, if the subjects are not anesthetized long enough to show evidence of infection.
  • Non-survival surgeries not performed aseptically or in a dedicated facility must at least be performed in a clean area, free of clutter.
  • Personnel present in the area must observe reasonable cleanliness practices for both themselves and the animals.
  • The IACUC must approve monitoring parameters for this type of surgery. In the approved protocol, the Principal Investigator must describe the length of the procedure and steps taken to minimize the possibility of infection.
  • The method of euthanasia should be consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia and must be listed in the approved IACUC protocol.
Sources for Surgical Supplies:

·

Harvard Apparatus

·

Braintree Scientific

·

Fine Science Tools

·

Fisher Scientific